MARY, OUR MOTHER

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

These Stone Walls: Advent in Eden


I’ve Seen the Fall of Man- Advent East of Eden s
The Genesis story of the Fall of Man is mirrored in the Nativity. Unlike Adam at the Tree of Knowledge, Jesus did not deem equality with God a thing to be grasped.
A TSW reader sent me a recent article from Crisis Magazine, “Who will Rescue the Lost Sheep of the Lonely Revolution?” by the outstanding writer, Anthony Esolen. It’s an admonitory parable about the lost sheep of the Gospel and the once dead prodigal son of another parable. What exactly did Jesus mean by “lost” and “dead”?
Mr. Esolen raises questions about controversies I have taken up in recent weeks, most notably in “Coping With the Pope Who Would not Be King.” That post had a focus on the Parable of the Prodigal Son, so central to the Gospel, but Esolen makes a point missing from the Synod debate:
“That is why you came among us, to call sinners back to the fold. Not to pet and stroke them for being sinners, because that is what you mean by ‘lost,’ and what you mean by ‘dead’ when you ask us to consider the young man who had wandered into the far country. The father in your parable wanted his son alive, not dead.”
In twenty years in prison, I have seen first hand the fall of man and its effects on the lives of the lost. No good father serves them by inviting them home then leaving them lost, or worse, dead; deadened to the Spirit calling them out of the dark wood of error. Mr. Esolen has seen this too:
“…you say your hearts beat warmly for the poor. Prisoners are poor to the point of invisibility… Go and find out what the Lonely Revolution has done to them. Well may you plead for cleaner cells and better food for prisoners, and more merciful punishment. Why do you not plead for cleaner lives and better nourishment for their souls when they are young, before the doors of the prison shut upon them? Who speaks for them?”
Here in prison, writing from the East of Eden, I live alongside the daily consequences of the Fall of Man. It will take more than a Synod on the Family to see the panoramic view I now see. Mr. Esolen challenges our shepherds: “Venturing forth into the margins, my leaders?… [Then] leave your parlors and come to the sheepfold.”

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